Draft picks are both important and exciting. Look no further than Giannis Antetokounmpo and you’ll see that clearly. Without draft picks turning into great players, it’s nearly impossible to build a winning team. And in Milwaukee, with the prospects of top-level free agents signing here slim to none, the draft is vital in the franchise’s hopes of turning things around. Of course, the higher those draft picks are, the higher the chance of them turning into great players, which in turn leads to the championing of tanking.
Wins, obviously, are both important and exciting as well, though this season they’ve been few and far between. This season, however, with the tanking route chosen (if albeit not by the Bucks’ own free will but rather forced upon them by the plague of injuries), losses, not wins, are what many fans want to see. So much so, that some are openly cheering for losses and decrying wins. I understand the jokes and all, which isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean fans that are actually cheering for the team to lose games.
Last night, as we all know, the Bucks dominated the Sixers to pick up their eleventh win of the season. Some fans were disappointed with the result, especially since it was against the Sixers and allowed them to pick up a game in the "race" (free fall?) to the worst record in the league. While this is true, last night’s win is something to be celebrated, not complained about.
I’m conflicted on the idea of tanking because of games specifically like last night’s. The thought of toiling away in NBA hell for another season isn’t what I’m advocating, but I also can’t find it in myself to cheer for losses or celebrate them afterwards. They’re something I’ve come to live with and accept in the face of their inevitability, but they still hurt. Only the possibility of a better future that comes along with dozens and dozens of them make this season bearable. (Well, that and Giannis.)
In this season of endless losing, the games and weeks can start to run together as hopelessness sets in. Games like last night, however, are welcomed breaks to the monotony and drudgery of weeklong losing streaks. The Bucks scored 130 points last night! Even if it was against the Sixers, that was fun! I’m not upset that we lost a game to the Sixers in the lottery race, rather I’m excited about Giannis’ block and O.J. Mayo hitting seven threes. For one night at least, there was some happiness when watching the Bucks. Occasional wins, even in a season of tanking, are important for the morale of both the franchise and the fans.
There will be plenty more losses and disappointing nights. This Bucks team isn’t about to go on an eight game winning streak that will severely hurt their draft hopes. So instead of complaining about not losing last night, feel good about seeing the team win for once. You probably won’t see it for a while.